Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Fall Foliage Display Was Muted, but There Were Highlights

Silky Dogwood
For the most part the fall colors were muted in our part of the country. Tree species that turn the most vibrant colors - including the Sugar Maple and White Ash didn't stand out nearly as much as they normally do. Deep red, purple, orange, peach and copper colors were sorley lacking in the mix. Yellow was well represented, but even that color was not  up to its usual intensity. The leaves of the Hickories and Tulip Trees normally turn brilliant shades of yellow, but this year it seems as though someone really turned down their color knob.

This was about the most colorful view that I could find on the property this season
A few isolated places looked good - Maples are doing the heavy work here
Still, with most of the showier trees out of the running, trees and bushes that are not usually not so prominent seemed to stand out more. The normally subdued colors of the Black Cherry trees in our reforestation field were more pronounced this year but it's likely that this would've escaped our notice if the neighboring trees weren't so dull. Smaller trees of the forest understory, meadows and wetlands seemed to be about as colorful as they ever are. Smooth Sumac never disappoints - and this year was no exception to that rule. Silky Dogwood was just as impressive as ever with most of its leaves turning a deep purple.

It's fairly unusual for Black Cherry Trees to have such colorful leaves
Currently in the old woods it's the beech trees that are providing most of the color
The foliage of the American Beech trees range from cooper to golden
If you were doing an assessment of Oak Trees alone you'd only be half disappointed.  While most in the White Oak family are only expected to turn various shades of brown, the Red Oak group contains some more reliable showmen. This fall as usual  most all of the Pin Oaks turned bright red - though that color had little staying power and only too soon they faded into brown. The Red Oaks themselves were a mixed bag - some turned orange and/or red while others went right to brown. The White Oak and the Swamp White Oak (both in the White Oak group, but in fall they are honorary members of the Red Oak group), for the most part didn't disappoint and turned beautiful shades of burgundy.
White Oaks and Swamp White Oaks didn't disappoint us this season
Most Aspens turn yellow - but these orange leaves came for the top of a Big Tooth Aspen
The leaves on this Northern Striped Maple (AKA  Moosewood) turned a ghostly pale
Our Pin Oaks turned bright red before fading quickly into brown
Virginia Creeper turned either brilliant red or purple, but most of these vines were well past their prime by the time the rest of the forest community started to get their color.
Virginia Creeper leaves change color very early in the season
Early in the season colorful foliage of Virginia Creeper vines outline the trunks and branches of their host trees
It's not just foliage that's colorful - as exemplified by the spent flowers of Buttonbush 
The stems and foliage of the Indian Hemp plant can be very colorful in late summer
As a reaction to freezing temperatures red  bittersweet berries emerge from their yellow sheaths

1 comment:

  1. the striped maple is the least known of all the common maple species in Kentucky. In our state we find it primarily in the true mountains at higher elevations Online Plant Nursery